Community Programs


October 25

Friday, October 25th
6:30pm – 8:30pm

Get into the Halloween spirit by joining us for this spooktacular celebration, NCNC-style. We’ll learn about and meet some creepy critters who remind us of All Hallows Eve (spiders, bats, snakes, & more), before getting the chance to make our very own slime. We’ll wrap up the evening by enjoying a spooky & interactive Halloween story and a one-of-a-kind jack-o-lantern experience.

Annual Jack-o-Lantern Carving Contest:
Carve a pumpkin or two or three at home with your family and bring it in to the NCNC Visitor Center on Wednesday, October 23 or Thursday, October 24, any time from 9am-3pm. Each pumpkin must be accompanied by a registration form (see below). Leave it to our naturalists to set the scene and then, on the 25, join us as we take a daring walk through the woods to visit your creepy creations.

Costumes encouraged & welcome!

This event has sold out in the past – spaces are limited and advanced registration is highly recommended. 

Registration Deadline:
12pm on Thursday, October 24

*This event is rain or shine.*

Members: $10/person
Non-Members: $15/person

Autumn Day

November 5

Tuesday, November 5th
1:00pm – 3:00pm

Vote for Nature on Election Day! Come on over to NCNC to enjoy a beautiful autumn day with your kids and the NCNC naturalists. Frolic in the leaves and take part in field games, such as pumpkin ring toss, corn hole, and parachute games, anytime from 1-3pm. Naturalists will also be leading autumn-themed relay races (like pumpkin broom ball) across the Green! At 1:30 and 2:30, get up close and  personal with several of our awesome animal ambassadors.

New for 2019:
Enjoy two fun and environmentally friendly nature crafts! First, make your very own “pet” owl out of a pinecone. Then, just bring an old t-shirt from home, and learn how to make your very own recycled bag!

*This is a FREE drop-in program.*
Rain or shine.

Weekend Waddle

November 30

Saturday, November 30th
Trail Treks at 10am & 11am

Grab the entire family (and any lingering holiday visitors too!) and head on down to the New Canaan Nature Center! Join the NCNC Naturalists for a healthy, invigorating Trail Trek to work off that holiday meal.

While “waddling” the trails, we’ll search for some of nature’s most treasured gifts and learn why the end of autumn may not be quite as quiet as you may think. Before our hike ends, each member of your family will be invited to select one fallen leaf of your own choosing from our woods! Then join our naturalists for a leaf rubbing craft to create your own family tree of all that you are thankful for this holiday season.

As an extra Thanksgiving bonus, after our hike, you’ll also get to enjoy a behind the scenes tour of our Animal Care facilities & Birds of Prey Exhibit – our way of saying “thank you” to the community.

*This is a FREE drop-in program.*
Rain or shine.


December 14

Saturday, December 14th
11:00am – 2:00pm

Come and be transported into a whole new world as the New Canaan Nature Center transforms into a Winter Wonderland filled with fun and exciting winter holiday activities for the entire family. We hope you will join us to enjoy the warm festive feel the Nature Center puts on this time of year!

Break Programs

December 23 & 24 and January 2 & 3

Come on down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff lead a variety of wintry adventures throughout our 40-acre preserve and celebrate the holiday season in true NCNC fashion as nature intended.

Owl Moon
Night Hike

 January 11, 2020

Saturday, January 11th
6:30pm – 8:00pm

Let the light of the FULL moon be your guide as we explore magic in the woods and unravel the mysteries of our nocturnal neighbors, the owls. We’ll discover how owls use their keen senses to navigate the night and learn first-hand how they can hunt in the dark. We’ll even “give a hoot” and see if we can identify owls by their tell-tale calls, before getting to meet a couple owls up close & personal.

Community Syruping Program

Kickoff Date: January 25, 2020

Adopt a maple tree for the season! Learn about and participate weekly in the entire syrup making process, from tapping a maple tree to sap collections and boil downs. You’ll even get your very own bottle of NCNC-made maple syrup at our end of season pot-luck dinner in March.

Participants will collect sap 1-3 times a week (depending on sap flow conditions) for the entire syrup season (typically 4-6 weeks) and take part in boil downs where REAL maple syrup is made right here at NCNC.

Break Programs

February 18-21, 2020

Out of school and looking for some wintry fun in the great outdoors? Come down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff lead a variety of winter-themed adventures throughout the 40-acre expanse of NCNC. Partake in nature games, crafts & activities!

Syrup Saturday:
A Pancakes & PJ’s Party

March 14, 2020

Saturday, March 14th
8:30am – 11:30am

Bring the whole family and join us for our annual end of syrup season celebration – you won’t want to miss our famously delicious Pancakes & PJ’s party, complete with TONS of fun syrup-related activities! We’ll be serving up flapjacks, syrup, and an array of tasty toppings in the Visitor Center, while leading tree tapping demos, a real maple sap “boil down,” campfire with marshmallows, and a real v. fake syrup taste test.

All are welcome and encouraged to dress in their PJ’s!

The Great Egg Hunt &
Spring Celebration

April 9, 10 and 11, 2020

Perfect for children, ages 2-10, our egg hunts are designed for smaller groups (approximately 25 per hunt) and, in addition to the hunt, include an egg & spoon obstacle course and meet & greet with our baby chicks & bunny rabbits. Just BYOB (bring your own basket) for collecting eggs (which contain nature-themed prizes and nut-free sweets).

Spring Fling
Break Programs

April 13-17, 2020

Out of school and looking for some spring fun and adventure? Come on down the hill and join other enthusiastic kids as our expert staff guide you on a variety of seasonal adventures throughout the 40-acres of forests, fields, and ponds at NCNC. Partake in nature games, crafts & activities!

Sounds of Spring
Night Hike

April 25, 2020

Saturday, April 25th
6:30pm – 8:00pm

Come explore the magic of spring and Earth Week with us! We’ll visit the Nature Center’s vernal pools and ponds to listen for the peeps and croaks of frogs and other amphibians that let us know spring has fully arrived! We’ll also journey through the woods and into the meadows in search of some awesome invertebrates, birds, and bats. If we’re super lucky, we might even get a chance to spot a critter or two! Join our Naturalists for this fun, interactive and earth aware hike to learn why these species are so important to our local ecosystem.

Community Garden:

May 2020 Kickoff

“Adopt” a plot in our community garden for the growing season (May-November)! Our community garden provides a shared space in which local residents can  tend a plot of land, learn together, and share in an appreciation of the outdoors and gardening. Each garden plot is located within a fenced-in area near the Herb Garden and all participants will have access to tools, watering facilities, and community guidance. The perfect opportunity for novices and experienced gardeners, alike!

Connecticut Trails
Day Weekend

June 2020

Join us as we celebrate Connecticut Trails Day here at the New Canaan Nature Center!

Great American

June 20-21, 2020

Join us for an evening full of fun and adventure by camping out in New Canaan’s favorite backyard! Enjoy a classic camping-style barbecue dinner, field games on the Green, night hike, campfire complete with s’mores, and more! In the morning, awake to fog over the meadow, deer browsing nearby and the promise of another magical day! A light breakfast of bagels, juice, and coffee will also be served.

Night of 1,000 Fireflies:
A Night Hike

July 11, 2020

Come and enjoy the magic of the midsummer night at the Nature Center. Join our Naturalists as we search for woodland creatures (wiggly worms & aquatic amphibians) and other enchanted mysteries of the evening, before delighting in the awe-inspiring beauty of our meadows aglow with the soft light of 1,000+ fireflies!

Creatures of the Night…

August 8, 2020

How do your nighttime senses compare to those of the nocturnal animals that call NCNC home? Join us for an interactive sensory night hike adventure and try your hand at our naturalist-led challenges to find out! First, we’ll put your night vision to the test to discover if you can see as well as an owl in the dark. Then we’ll focus on your sense of smell, hearing, and touch! We’ll wrap up the night with one of our favorite summer activities… roasting marshmallows around the campfire!

Program will also include the opportunity to meet a couple of the nature center’s nocturnal animal ambassadors up close and personal.

*This event is rain or shine.*


September 2020

Celebrate the fall cider season here at NCNC! Come and enjoy an early autumn afternoon of family fun with cider press demonstrations, apple slingshots (on the top of every hour), a bounce house, old-fashioned games, a pumpkin scavenger hunt, seasonal harvest crafts for kids, baked apples, and corn bread on a stick. Fill your bellies with delicious corn dogs, grilled corn, fresh cider, and baked goodies, all available for purchase.

Earth Day

April 22

Come celebrate Earth Day with us on April 22nd! An annual world-wide event, join us to learn what you can do locally to help protect the environment.